Declan Rice’s absence in this defeat highlighted his importance to Arsenal. In response, Mikel Arteta criticized some of his players for neglecting basic aspects of the game against a motivated opponent. It must have been surprising for Jorginho, Reiss Nelson, Jakub Kiwior, Fábio Vieira, Leandro Trossard, and Kai Havertz to hear Arteta pointing out Arsenal’s lack of competitiveness. This was evident as West Ham advanced to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with impressive performances from Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus, while Rice sat on the bench for the majority of his first return to the London Stadium.
The midfield lacked structure as Jorginho played in a defensive role instead of the highly expensive player. Arsenal showed little resistance and could not argue, despite Arteta’s belief that West Ham’s first goal should not have counted. West Ham’s manager, David Moyes, celebrated his first win against Arsenal and could proudly reflect on a job well done. Edson Álvarez, one of the players brought in to fill in for Rice, dominated the midfield. Bowen was a standout player in the attacking line, while Kudus scored an impressive goal. Mavropanos, facing his former team, impressed with his strength and control alongside Nayef Aguerd in central defense.
Moyes expressed his satisfaction with his team’s performance in cup matches, as they prepare to face Liverpool in the quarter-finals. He also emphasized the importance of being a successful league team and acknowledged that their only victory against Arsenal does not guarantee any trophies. He recognizes the significance of draws in cup competitions.
Moyes appeared subdued, which was unexpected following West Ham’s impressive victory over Arsenal, their most decisive since 1987. On the other hand, Arteta openly expressed his dissatisfaction. He stated that the team must harness the pain from Saturday’s loss as they prepare to face Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend. Changes are likely to be made, with players such as Rice, William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Ødegaard, and Bukayo Saka returning to the lineup. Additionally, Oleksandr Zinchenko may be replaced by Takehiro Tomiyasu after struggling at left-back, especially when he allowed Kudus to score West Ham’s second goal early in the second half.
The situation was chaotic. While Zinchenko is skilled with the ball, rival wingers are aware of his vulnerability and Arsenal struggled until Arteta replaced him in the 57th minute. They had not made much progress, with Havertz’s performance disappointing once again, and one notable event was a nervous showing from Aaron Ramsdale. With the opportunity to prove he deserves to be the starting goalkeeper instead of David Raya, Ramsdale did not impress when West Ham scored first with Ben White’s own goal.
The match quickly followed a familiar trend, with West Ham focusing on defense and absorbing pressure. This was a typical strategy from Moyes when facing stronger teams, and Arsenal, who had made six changes since their dominant win against Sheffield United, lacked their usual energy. Havertz did manage to test Lukasz Fabianski with a header in the eighth minute, but overall, West Ham remained composed and waited for chances to counterattack.
West Ham’s lack of touches in the Arsenal box before half-time was not a concern. Their goal came in the 16th minute, when Bowen’s corner from the right resulted in damage. Ramsdale, who claimed he was obstructed by Soucek pulling his shirt, was pinned down and no one else took control. The ball hit White’s head and Ramsdale’s delayed attempt at a flying punch did not seem smart.
Arsenal’s response was muted. Eddie Nketiah headed wide from a corner but West Ham were growing in confidence. They went close at the start of the second half, Lucas Paquetá releasing Bowen, Ramsdale denying the forward with a smart save.
West Ham was starting to get into the rhythm of the game. They could tell that Arsenal was weak against long balls and they scored once more when Aguerd played a long diagonal pass over Zinchenko in the 50th minute.
The defender on the left side made a mistake in predicting the path of the ball and was left out of position when Kudus received it. From that point on, it was all about Kudus’ skill. He controlled the ball with his first touch, allowing him to change direction, and his next touch was even more impressive: a left-footed shot at an angle that flew past Ramsdale and into the opposite corner.
On came Rice, greeted by a curious mix of boos and cheers, but West Ham were rampant. There was no resistance from Arsenal when Vladimir Coufal attacked from right-back after an hour. Coufal crossed, White’s clearance was poor and Bowen’s shot flew past Ramsdale via a deflection off Kiwior.
Arteta made changes to the team by bringing in Martinelli, Ødegaard, and Saka. However, despite Havertz’s poor performance, Arsenal could not make a comeback. Ødegaard’s goal in the end was insignificant.